Residents of flats in Grindal Avenue, Lavender Hill, are upset at the City of Cape Town’s delay in responding to their pleas to fix damages caused by a storm two months ago.
A few residents’ roofs had been damaged by a raging storm in July and since then they have been living in discomfort, their floors were flooded, water was dripping off their walls and the cold air coming through the damaged roofs put their health at risk.
Those who were affected are angry with the Retreat Housing Office management as well as ward councillor Marita Petersen who have failed to assure them that the damages will be fixed.
Levona Moses of 75C Grindal Avenue said she had been hit the
hardest as the wind ripped a huge hole in her roof while they were sleeping.
“I have a daughter Nuraan and her baby Zahaan, of four months (she was two months old at the time), and we heard the noise when the ceiling caved in. It was so traumatic, but luckily the
baby was sleeping in the corner of the room. She was hit by a gust of dust and her mother had to wipe the dust from her mouth to prevent her choking.”
Ms Moses said they immediately contacted the City’s Disaster Risk Management Centre, which came out the next day to assess the damages.
She said they were also visited by the Fire and Rescue Service, which came to see if it was safe to live in the flat.
“The hole was so big we could see the sky. But luckily a friend built us a makeshift ceiling.”
However, sleeping in cold conditions has been costing her a pretty penny.
“We have to put our heaters on because of the cold air and I have to buy electricity every day.”
Ms Moses said adding to their discomfort were the constant wet floors in the lounge, which is situated underneath the hole.
“I feel miserable when I have to walk on flooded floors and to avoid dampness we have to move furniture around,” said Ms Moses.
The Moses family have been living in Lavender Hill for 34 years and they are the third tenants.
“We have nowhere else to go because this is our home and I don’t like to live in these conditions.”
Adam Julius, 62, of 75A , who lives downstairs from Ms Moses, has water dripping into his home from upstairs.
“My wife and I are both pensioners and it is not good to live this
way,” said Mr Julius, who has had to have his bedroom walls repainted due to water damage.
Mieshka Ushioda, of 89C, who is currently working from home, told Southern Mail that they had been emailing the City’s Housing Office since the beginning of August to find out what was going to be done about the damaged roof.
“My work laptop is situated close to where the water is dripping.
Who will be replacing my work’s laptop if there is any damage caused? The water is also dripping by the electrical plugs and appliances. Who will be replacing our appliances when it breaks or pay for medical bills if one of us or our children gets electrocuted? Our room and kitchen are leaking everywhere and on top of that, we have a toddler who has to wake up to asbestos, water dripping onto him.”
She said she requested that someone provide them with a date when the City would be attending to the roof, but to no avail.
“At present, the water damage has caused the walls and ceilings
to form mould which is a huge concern.
“If the roof cannot be immediately replaced, wouldn’t it be practical for the City to put in place a temporary measure for example a sail(s), so that our belongings can be protected and to protect our home from electrical faults or damage?
More importantly, our health is at risk as both myself and my sister are asthmatics.”
Ms Ushioda accused the City of procrastinating.
“We are also very conscious that no one will come out to assist while it is raining.
“This issue was escalated right after the storm (in July) and it is unacceptable for the City to leave this lagging and dragging.”
Aubrey Robinson is a community leader from Retreat, who has been assisting the residents and who alerted Southern Mail to this issue.
“There are lots of these types of complaints, which are not timeously dealt with especially by the Retreat Housing Office.
“I’m in the process of requesting a meeting with the executive
director of the human settlements and housing department to address these issues and will keep you updated,” said Mr Robinson.
Southern Mail asked the City of Cape Town for a response on Thursday September 3 but by Monday September 7, the City responded only by saying: “The City is looking into this matter and will respond further as soon as possible.”
The Southern Mail will publish the City’s full response when we receive it.